More than 10,000 people have applied for firecracker sales permits in 3,000 sales locations in Beijing, as the Chinese capital prepares to allow people to set off fireworks to celebrate the Lunar New Year for the first time in 12 years, Beijing Time reported yesterday.
Eighteen districts and counties have finalized the registration of firecracker sales permits.
"Authorities will carry out seven steps to approve sales licenses for applicants," said an official of the firecracker authority.
Another official with the firecracker authority was quoted by the newspaper as saying those who get sales permits must buy firecrackers from appointed places, or their goods will be confiscated and they will be fined between 10,000 yuan (US$1,237) and 100,000 yuan.
Beijing lifted the ban on crackers in September.
The new regulation, the Beijing Municipal Regulations on Firecrackers Safety Management, will be effective from Thursday.
It allows Beijing people to burst firecrackers within the Fifth Ring Road, from the Lunar New Year's Eve to the 15th day of the Lunar New Year during certain hours.
During other festivals, firecrackers are only allowed in restricted areas.
The Beijing Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, the capital's only fireworks distributor, have ordered 400,000 boxes of 650 varieties of firecrackers for the coming Spring Festival.
Orders this year are three times what they were before 1993, when the fireworks ban was introduced due to security and environmental concerns. Firecrackers are traditionally believed to chase away demons, especially at Spring Festival. But, some believe relaxing the firework ban is a dangerous move.
(Shenzhen Daily/Agencies November 29, 2005)